21.0 x 10.0 x 5.0 (cm)
8.3 x 3.9 x 2.0 (inch)Photo: Ringo Cheung
©2016 Izumi Kato. Courtesy the Artist and Perrotin.
Izumi Kato is beloved for his enigmatic hybrid figures with dark penetrating eyes that seem to tap into the primitive psyche of humankind. These embryonic creatures are also lovable, appealing to the viewer’s emotions for the simple naiveté inherent in them. Such qualities are enhanced by the tactility of the surface of his works achieved by the artist using his own hands in lieu of paint brushes to apply paint. This primitive method not only gives him more control over realizing his artistic vision, but it also grants physical closeness between him and his work.
While Kato’s primary mode of expression is through paintings, he also dabbles in the realm of sculptural art, which he began in 2003. The sculptures can be seen as an extension of his paintings; Kato imbues that same kind of arcaneness and immediacy to his sculptural figures by creating them out of wood, vinyl and metal, which allows him to leave physical marks and cuts that bear resemblance to markings on flesh.
Kato’s child-like figures are in part an embodiment of the artist’s skepticism of and rebellion against the academic tradition that was taught to him at Tokyo’s prestigious Musashino Art University where he studied oil painting. Kato leaves all of his works untitled to give agency to the viewers in freely interpreting the works.